Saturday, September 30, 2006

Honduran Patrimony

I've always had an interest in historical preservation, and as such I'm intrigued by the history and patrimony of Honduras, my adopted land. Guatemala City, San Salvador, Managua, and San Jose have all been ravaged by earthquakes, and much of their patrimony has been lost. While Honduras has been spared from destruction of earthquakes, it has not escaped the destruction of human neglect. Unfortunately, much of it's history and patrimony has already been destroyed through this neglect. And, much of what human apathy didn't destroy, Hurricane Mitch finished off.

Today, Hondurans look to the great Gringo land up North for cultural leadership. Almost every American franchise is represented, from McDonald's, Burger KIng, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, Chuch's Fried Chicken to Applebee's, Friday's, and Ruby Tuesday. If you drive down the Boulevard Morazan in Tegucigalpa, it seems that every fast food joint is competing with each other in who create the most visual pollution by erecting the largest and ugliest sign. On the retail side, Offfice Depot is opening stores, there's Rooms to Go, and USA Cleaner's. In lodging there's Clarion, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Hilton, and Marriott. The indigenous Honduran hotels are in decline due to lack of renovation and upkeep.

All of this presupposes a value judgement on the part of Hondurans that their culture is not vibrant. I believe it expresses a cultural inferiority complex. To me, this is a real shame...

For some idea of the richness of Honduras' past, please visit the following website:

www.honduantes.8k.com

As always, I look forward to your comments.

3 comments:

Bound for Ceiba said...

Ugh, I find Morazan to be soooooo ugly! I love the twisty-turny streets downtown though.

One of the things about US corps in Honduras though, is that they get really huge benefits like 10 years tax free and reduced (or eliminated) import tariffs. According to what I've read, some Hondurans are getting rather pissed off about it, as well they should, in my opinion. The government has welcomed the big franchises with open arms, while doing (from what I can tell) little to stimulate national business growth. FURTHERMORE, as the foreign corps rake in the dough from Pizza-Hut obssessed clientele, Honduras foregoes a crapload of tax revenue from them which could (theoretically) be used to improve infrastructure and government services for the people of Honduras.

Ugh.

*end rant*

Gardener in Mexico said...

Hi, I just ran into your blog, via Bound for Ceiba or La Gringa. I like what you write about and your photos. i have been living in a small beach town in Mexico for almost three years. Things sound more difficult in Honduras than in Mexico, but not so different.

Good luck. Andee

DON GODO said...

Bound,

I think we are alike in a lot of ways, because I really enjoy downtown Teguciagalpa too. My wife and I considered buying an old house in Buenos Aires, on the edge of downtown, to renovate and live in. We decided against it because of the lack of security in the area. I really would enjoy being an 'urban pioneer'.

Downtown Teguz could really be nice and be an economic growth engine for the economy if they preserved it, cleaned it up, and took better care. A lot of tourist would flock there. Restaurants and galleries would open. It would be a self perpetuating economic shot in the arm. Think: Antigua, Guatemala. At least the current mayor has taken a small step in the right direction by banning big buses from downtown (ie. former gringo school buses).

You're absolutely right about the injustice of extending the tourism incentive act to franchises. It almost put the local 'homegrown' burger and pizza joints out of business (like Biggi and Pizza House). The law has been changed now, but the damage has already been done because the preexisting franchises are 'grandfathered in'. So by the time the ten years are up, the little guys without the deep pockets will be gone. Its really not fair since the small guys are already at a disadvantage.


Gardner in Mexico,

Welcome aboard! I visited your site yesterday. You really have some great pictures!!! I look forward to reading it on a regular basis.